SolidWorks Tries Out Installment Plan

21 Oct, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

Rent-to-own licensing begins at $199 a month.

Last week, SolidWorks launched a sales promotion that might be described as rent-to-own: Buy SolidWorks for as little as $199 a month, 0% interest, to be paid over a period of 36 months. The transaction includes a three-year subscription and requires an unspecified security deposit and $75 documentation fee.

The promotional literature can be found at SolidWorks' marketing site. The offer urges buyers to contact SolidWorks value-added resellers (VARs), but it's unclear if the offer is restricted to prequalified buyers or available to everyone.

Last week, SolidWorks launched a sales promotion allowing buyers to pay for the software by installment, as low as $199 per month.

A record of the text exchanges during the VAR's SolidWorks 2009 rollout event posted at SolidWorks user Mike Puckett's blog indicates that additional installment terms for 12 or 24 months are also available. The news is corroborated by the promotional offer posted at the site of Javelin Technologies, a 3D CAD reseller.

According to the fine print on SolidWorks' own promotional literature, the offer expires on December 19, 2008. The promotion from Javelin, however, lists December 31, 2008, as the expiration date. SolidWorks officials were not available for comment or clarification.

Under this program, the costs of SolidWorks Standard comes to $7,164 ($199 x 36), SolidWorks Professional $8,964 ($249 x 36), and SolidWorks Premium $12,564 ($349 x 36), along with the required deposit and document fees. By contrast, under standard pricing, SolidWorks Professional 2009 costs $5,490, and SolidWorks Premium 2009 $7,995. SolidWorks subscription, which gives buyers access to upgrades, technical support, and training, is regularly priced $1,295 a year. The installment plan includes a three-year subscription, the equivalent of $3,885.

Though the installment licenses cost more, the option to substitute a large upfront investment with small monthly payments over a longer period might be appealing to CAD buyers in the current economic downturn.

The SolidWorks offer points out, "Since you own the asset on day one, your business can take advantage of the IRS Section 179 expense deduction or you can utilize the 2008 tax relief act and accelerate a portion of the depreciation."

A similar sales model is employed by Alibre, which sells its Alibre Design MCAD software for as low as $85 per month, to be paid over a 12-month period (total costs $1,020) at no interest. For more, read Alibre CEO Paul Grayson's blog entry titled "It's the Economy, Stupid!"

SolidWorks' rival Autodesk recently launched a promotion designed to attract reluctant buyers with a $400 rebate offer (read the news story here). Fashioned after the Federal Government's economic stimulus checks, the Autodesk Efficiency Stimulus Program ran through October 17.

To comment on this issue, go to and read the blog entry titled "Confusion with the SolidWorks Installment Program."